Underlying reasons why female university students withdraw from sport
University of Wales
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The purpose of this study was to identify the underlying reasons of withdrawal in female University students. This enabled the identification to analyse the critical causal elements in conjunction with concurrent research literature to witness whether dropout behaviour remains accurate and to analyse if the antecedents are comparable. A qualitative approach was used where eight female subjects studying at University were interviewed as they had previously withdrawn from sport an array of sports, all of whom had competed at least at county level or above. To retrieve maximum data a semi-structured format was used. Interview questions were based on studying the sporting career prior to withdrawal, timing at which the individual considered withdrawing and following their withdrawal. Content analysis demonstrated various aspects which influenced dropout behaviour; a total of 16 specific reasons were apparent and 12 motives towards involvement/perceived benefits of health. These critical causal elements to behaviour were coded into higher-order themes being: support/lack of support, personal factors, social exclusion, motivational factors, time management, environmental factors and organisational factors. Following coding, an effective hierarchical tree was developed which determined dropout behaviour in sport. Findings suggest that students have a multitude of similar reasons rather than one definitive factor for withdrawal, mainly related to negative experiences and behaviour outcomes. The most highlighted issues referred as reasons for withdrawal were lack of motivation, poor coach-athlete relationship/lack of coaches, missing out on social aspects and struggling to balance education with sport. It was concluded that these aspects interrelate, where one factor may influence another towards dropout behaviour. When implementing interventions to enhance active involvement in sport and reduce dropout behaviour, practitioners should aim to eliminate these negative experiences and antecedents of withdrawal and reinforce positive aspects throughout an athlete’s career.
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